After successfully selling out Startup Weekend Dunedin 2015, I was contracted by the Canterbury Development Corporation to attract registrations of interest for the Christchurch intake of the Lightning Lab Accelerator Programme.
Lightning Lab is a four-month intensive business acceleration programme based on an accelerator model developed by TechStars in the US. Lightning Lab had previously run thrice in New Zealand with the Christchurch intake being the first in the South Island.
I exceeded registration quotas by 40% using our influence in the New Zealand startup community to attract startups with investment potential. Notable alumni from this intake include Debtor Daddy, registered as a result of my campaign.
Strategy & Execution
My promotion strategy for Lightning Lab Christchurch centred on directly targetting newly formed technology startups with scaling potential instead of wasting valuable resources broadcasting the message to the greater community.
From experience, I knew these individuals were likely to work out of co-working spaces, be part of university innovation groups, or be connected to an existing member of the startup community. Individuals or small groups of individuals with startup potential rarely exist in isolation from the rest of the startup community. I initiated a very targeted campaign to reach influencers who could help spread the message within this community.
I found great success in promoting the benefits of the programme by telling the stories of previous entrants such as Wipster and Glassjar. This was supplemented by organic and paid social media marketing, email marketing, poster campaigns, news stories, and networking events sponsored by Lightning Lab.
A very effective tactic I have used when promoting events like TEDxDunedin and Startup Weekend is to pre-write an EDM or blog and send it to an organisation with a large concentration of our target market in its audience.
Below is some content I created that was successfully republished and delivered by numerous organisations.
Blog post for Lightning Lab
There will be days where you will want to quit Lightning Lab. Of course, that’s to be expected when you’re packing a few years of startup experience into twelve weeks.
Now in its third year, Lightning Lab has acquired a reputation for producing some of New Zealand’s leading startups. If your application is accepted, you will receive $18,000 in seed funding, gain access to valuable networks, and acquire vital business experience from a wide group of mentors. At the end of the twelve-week programme, you will pitch to a room of investors for funding.
Email sent through third-party organisations
Do you want to be paid to work on your business?
Lightning Lab, New Zealand’s premier business accelerator, has come to the South Island. In Christchurch from August to November 2015, up to 10 startups will be given $18,000 in seed money and put through their paces, iterating and reiterating their business models and markets with the help of a world-class network of mentors and speakers.
I liaised with journalists to gain media coverage of the programme and its participants.